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U.S. Consumer Prices Unchanged For Third Straight Month In January


Consumer prices in the U.S. were unchanged for the third straight month in January, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index was unchanged in January, matching the revised reading for December. Economists had expected consumer prices to inch up by 0.1 percent.

The unchanged reading on consumer prices came as another steep drop in energy prices was offset by increases in prices for other goods and services.

The report said energy prices plummeted by 3.1 percent in January after tumbling by 2.6 percent in December and 2.8 percent in November.

Prices for gasoline continued to lead the way lower, plunging by 5.5 percent in January following a 5.8 percent nosedive in December.

Excluding the slump in energy prices as well as a modest increase in food prices, core consumer prices rose by 0.2 percent for the fifth consecutive month. The uptick in core prices matched economist estimates.

The report showed a substantial increase in prices for apparel, which spiked by 1.1 percent in January after coming in unchanged in December.

Higher prices for shelter, medical care, recreation, and household furnishings and operations also contributed to the continued increase in core prices.

The Labor Department said the annual rate of consume price growth slowed to 1.6 percent in January from 1.9 percent in December, showing the slowest rate of growth since June of 2017.

Meanwhile, the report said the annual rate of core consumer price growth was unchanged from the two previous months at 2.2 percent.

"Overall, these data support our baseline view of a well-behaved inflationary environment that provides the Fed room to pause before raising rates again," said Gregory Daco, Chief U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

He added, "We look for the Fed to pause throughout the first half of the year to assess the economic landscape before likely raising rates again in Q3."

On Thursday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release a separate report on producer price inflation in the month of January.

Producer prices are expected to inch up by 0.1 percent, while core producer prices are expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

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